By Wendy Osher
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a disaster proclamation, authorizing the state Department of Transportation to begin emergency highway repairs on the Kuhio Highway on Kauai’i.
Heavy rains over the last two weekends are being blamed for erosion to the soil foundation and the partial collapse of a 15-foot diameter steel culvert beneath the highway, according to the proclamation.
The damages occurred near Mile Post 22.5 of the highway, east of the Pili Road intersection near Kilauea town.
Heavy rains inundated the area on Sunday, February 26. The island has also been under a Flash Flood Warning throughout today and intermittently over the weekend.
“Emergency repairs are necessary for the safety of all those who use this popular corridor,” said Gov. Abercrombie in a statement today. “State traffic personnel are working to ensure that the North Kaua’i communities remain accessible to residents and visitors,” he said.
State highway personnel completed site inspections last week. Design of the repair project is expected to be completed later this week.
Construction, authorities say, is anticipated to begin in mid-to-late March and will include the excavation of a 150-foot section of Kuhio Highway, and replacement of the damaged drainage culvert, as well as reconstruction of the highway pavement.
An average of 12,000 vehicles pass through the area daily, according to DOT officials.
Crews have temporarily rerouted traffic around the work zone, utilizing Kolo and Pili Roads as a detour. Motorists are advised to follow all posted all traffic signage and to use caution while driving through the area.
***Supporting information courtesy Hawaii, Office of the Governor, and Hawaii DOT.